Friday, April 20, 2018 by Frances Bloomfield
Hydrocephalus, sometimes known as water in the brain, is a condition wherein cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), the clear fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord, is unable to drain from the brain. As CSF continues to accumulate, it can widen the spaces in the brain called ventricles and eventually place pressure on surrounding brain tissues. The build-up tends to occur when an obstruction prevents CSF from draining properly. Other times, hydrocephalus is the result of excessive CSF production.
There are several types of hydrocephalus, with the main ones being:
There are a number of factors that greatly increases a person’s risk of hydrocephalus, and these include:
The symptoms of hydrocephalus usually vary depending on the type. For instance, people with congenital hydrocephalus are characterized by enlarged heads, brought on by their skulls expanding as infants in order to accommodate the build-up of CSF. This, in turn, can be followed by the fontanel or soft spot on top of the head tensing and bulging upwards, and the scalp appearing thin and shiny. In addition to these symptoms, congenital hydrocephalus patients also tend to exhibit:
On the other hand, those with acquired hydrocephalus display different symptoms due to their skulls not being able to accommodate the CSF buildup:
Finally, older adults with normal pressure hydrocephalus will show the symptoms at a more gradual pace. The earliest sign of this condition is falling without losing consciousness. Other signs include:
The brain is most at risk from hydrocephalus, though the severity of the damage will depend on numerous factors. Babies with congenital hydrocephalus can suffer from permanent brain damage, which can cause them to endure several life-long complications like:
There are no foods or nutrients that can prevent hydrocephalus. However, sticking to a healthy diet during pregnancy greatly reduces the risk of congenital hydrocephalus. This type of diet would usually include a variety of foods like lean meats, fruits, and vegetables. In addition, certain nutrients are necessary for baby’s development while still in the womb. According to Patient.info, these nutrients are:
The primary goal in treating both congenital and acquired hydrocephalus is to relieve pressure from the brain. There are two ways to go about this:
Those who have normal pressure hydrocephalus have the option of undergoing a lumbar puncture. This procedure will involve removing some of the CSF from the base of the spine.
It’s possible to reduce the risk of normal pressure hydrocephalus and acquired hydrocephalus by preventing head injuries. Using safety equipment, particularly those that protect the head, are essential when carrying out physical activities such as bike riding or contact sports. Older adults should make their homes safer by investing in grab bars and non-slip mats for their bathrooms, as well as handrails for their stairways. Safety gates and window guards are musts for homes with children.
Hydrocephalus is a condition wherein CSF builds up inside of the brain and places pressure on it, potentially leading to brain damage. This disorder can be congenital or acquired, and can occur to anyone at any stage of their life. The symptoms of hydrocephalus vary with the type, but the most telling sign of the congenital form of this condition is a head that steadily grows in size. Hydrocephalus can be fatal without treatment.
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